HISTORY

American Revolution: The Essential Reference Guide

ABC-CLIO May 2021. 322p. ed. by Spencer C. Tucker. ISBN 9781440876516. $97. REF
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Thousands of books have been written about the American Revolution, so one might ask whether there is need for another work on the topic. The answer is an unequivocal yes for this well-done introduction. Military historian Tucker and 19 contributors focus on the principal political and military figures and primary battles and campaigns of the war. Related entries cover logistics, major weapon systems, and treaties. Articles on the impact and role of slavery and women are standouts. Tucker starts with a short but excellent summary of the causes, course, and consequences of the Revolution, establishing the context and tone of the 85 entries that follow. The discussion of the war’s consequences is particularly insightful. Entries are signed and generally run a few pages, with up to six resources listed for further reading, perfect for student papers and oral reports. There are also 16 primary documents included, among them a newspaper account of the Boston Massacre, a prison narrative of Massachusetts sailor Ebenezer Fox’s capture by the British off the coast of New Jersey, and the complete text of the Treaty of Paris. A very good general bibliography concludes the guide. Contributors write succinctly but with an authority that conveys their knowledge of the subject.
VERDICT A basic but lucid and effective look at the American Revolution, with an emphasis on the major personalities, military maneuvers, and events of the war. General readers and high school students will find it useful.
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